Plea to remember war dead after graves in Layton Cemetery are desecrated

A Blackpool woman is urging the people of the town to leave a poppy on each of the war graves in Layton Cemetery.

Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 1:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 2:29 pm
Picture: Elizabeth Gomm
Picture: Elizabeth Gomm

Elizabeth Gomm, 69, who is retired but works as a voluntary co-ordinator for the Children of Watamu charity, says the inspiration for her idea when walking through the church yard and happening across a teenage soldier's gravestone.

It comes after Polish graves were desecrated by vandals on Bonfire Night.The grandmother, who is a keen photographer and is currently holding an exhibition at Moor Park Library, said: “Late afternoon, I went for a walk in Layton Cemetery.

“I happened across the grave of Private J Eastwood who died on October 20, 1918, just 22 days before the end of WW1. He was 18.

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“I can only imagine the how tragedy of his death, and that of all those like him, impacted on family and friends. Private Eastwood had barely lived before he died.

“I left him my poppy.

“There are other WW1 and WW2 graves scattered around Layton cemetery without any token of remembrance.

“The graves of the equally brave Polish airmen, trained in Blackpool, and who lost their lives in WW2, are grouped together, beautifully maintained and loved.

“Each has a red rose, some have cards, and one has rosary beads hanging from it. The central memorial has a flame burning bright against the stone.

“How lovely it would be if, by Sunday, each of our WW1 and WW2 graves showed a simple symbol of remembrance and respect.”

Onamental glass candles placed on Polish war graves in Layton cemetery were smashed on Monday night.

Blackpool Council said bins and benches were also turned over both within the cemetery and nearby Mansfield Road.

A spokesperson said: “We ask local residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour around the cemetery as we want to put this disrespectful behaviour to an end.”

Layton Cemetery contains 138 Commonwealth War Graves and a War Cross is erected in the main drive.

There are 239 graves for soldiers from the First World War and 39 from the Second World War.